CULTURE

Almost gone for a spell, indie rockers carrying on

Following the bitter demise of their previous project, the seminal indie-pop trio Galaxie 500, in the early 1990s, band members Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang had apparently thought seriously about giving up on their craft. Yet the Boston-based band has managed to sustain its effort as Damon & Naomi with a steady stream of worthy releases. The duo’s activities brings them to Greece for their first-ever show here this Saturday at the recently launched Planet Music club in Athens. As two-thirds of Galaxie 500, Krukowski and Yang experienced mixed fortunes. The material produced by the band, led by Dean Wareham, a transplanted New Zealander long in the USA, was unjustly overlooked during the band’s short lifetime. Their work – dreamy, enigmatic and minimalist pop tunes – eventually did get the wider recognition it deserved, but not before the trio fell apart. Wareham, who met the band’s other two members while they were all studying at Harvard University, pulled the band’s plug with a phone call saying that he was quitting. It was a testing time for Krukowski and Yang, who contemplated a complete withdrawal from music. About a year later, the New Zealand expatriate went on to form a new band, Luna, the long-running and popular alternative pop act whose lineup included for several years compatriot bassist Justin Harewood, one of many musicians who passed through Martin Phillips’s eerie-pop band the Chills, an 80s underground gem from New Zealand. While Wareham was quickly back on track, Galaxie 500’s other two members were left wondering about a next move. Their uncertainty was further shattered by the financial collapse of the disbanded act’s record label, Rough Trade. Galaxie 500’s three albums could no longer be marketed and claims to any royalties also vanished. But, not long afterward, Krukowski purchased the master tapes for all three albums at an auction of Rough Trade’s assets and the material was rereleased five years later as a box set of Galaxie 500’s complete recordings. With all this going on, Krukowski and Yang had temporarily retreated from music to focus on running Exact Change, a small surrealist publishing house they established in 1990. Following insistent pressure from their producer of the Galaxie 500 albums, the pair resurfaced briefly, in 1992, as Damon & Naomi, with a debut album titled «More Sad Hits.» Krukowski, who drummed with Galaxie 500, moved to vocal and guitar duties for the new project, while Yang remained on bass. The new work continued to feature the ghostly ambience of their previous band’s work, but the backdrop was more ambitious and expansive. Despite the effort, the pair withdrew soon after but resurfaced four years later, in 1995, around the time Galaxie 500’s work was successfully remarketed, with «The Wondrous World of Damon and Naomi.» Intriguing albums have since come at a pace of every two to three years. Saturday, Athens (Planet Music, 44 Ardittou Ave, Mets tel 210.923.7109). Doors open at 9 p.m.